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Local News

Yorkshire cyclist nearly died in horror crash ‘in the middle of nowhere’

today14/09/2021

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A Yorkshire man who had his leg amputated following a cycling accident ‘in the middle of nowhere’ has opened up about the horrendous crash, his near-death experience and his remarkable recovery.

Brett Daughtrey, 43, from Rotherham, was taking part in a 185-mile cycling challenge that covered the length of Wales in one day on July 17 and was 60 miles from the finish at Chepstow when he collided with a van carrying a trailer on a narrow road.

He tore an artery in his right knee and was bleeding profusely in the middle of the road but fortunately there was an army medic nearby to tend to the wound.

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While waiting for an air ambulance to arrive, Brett spoke on the phone to his wife Cat – explained what had happened and telling her that he loved her “in case I never saw her again”.

He was then taken to Stoke Hospital where he stayed for a number of weeks. Brett underwent multiple operations to try and save his leg but developed sepsis, which caused him to become desperately ill and almost die.

His leg was amputated and is now making a great recovery, with the focus being on how to build his strength and start cycling again.



Brett Daughtrey has been getting back to being fighting fit at home in Rotherham
Brett Daughtrey has been getting back to being fighting fit at home in Rotherham

Brett has since raised over £15,000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and his friends, family and fellow cyclists are now fundraising in his name to help fund a specialist prosthetic leg so he can start cycling again.

Brett took part in the Wales In A Day ride back in July with five friends from a cycling club based in Doncaster.

He said: “It was really a perfect day for cycling. Wales is beautiful and you are cycling through the back roads of the country on this sunny day. It was everything you would want a cycling day to be.”

When he was two thirds of the way through he had split up from the rest of his group and was riding on ahead with another man he had met when he began a “fairly steep descent with a left hand turn”.

A van carrying a trailer came towards him and the car was “taking up pretty much all of the road”. Brett was unable to break quick enough and he went around the side of the vehicle, bumping on the side of the van and then hitting the trailer and catching his knee at the back of it as he went over his handle bars.



Brett Daughtrey was an accomplished cyclist and competed in races and triathlons
Brett Daughtrey was an accomplished cyclist and competed in races and triathlons

Brett said: “It took about three centimetre pieces out of my artery in the back of my knee. When I sat up on the floor I realised there was blood and put my hand behind my knee and the arteries popped out. Blood started gushing out.

“I realised this was really, really serious.

“I was in the middle of nowhere in the back roads with a serious artery wound.”

The cyclist who was riding alongside Brett at the time, the driver of the car and others began to try and help him and tend to the wound.

He asked one person to ring his wife Cat and let her know what had happened.



Brett was cycling the length of Wales when he collided with a van
Brett was cycling the length of Wales when he collided with a van

He said: “I realised it was really serious and wanted her to know how it happened and tell her I loved her in case I never saw her again.”

The driver of the car was on his way to buy a motorcycle from an ex army medic who was only half a mile away. When he was told about the crash he rushed down to help.

While the methods used by others there to try and stop the flow of blood proved ineffective, the army medic brought a tourniquet to fix to his leg, which proved a huge help while Brett was waiting for the air ambulance.

Brett said: “He said he had applied it to people with gunshot wounds in Afghanistan. It was immediate relief from thinking ‘I might die’ to having an army medic there.

“Once he had applied it and we knew there was an air ambulance on the way I was able to take a sigh of relief.”



Brett was airlifted to a hospital in Stoke from the south Wales
Brett was airlifted to a hospital in Stoke from the south Wales

About 30 minutes after the crash the air ambulance arrived and took Brett to Stoke hospital. He said: “When it took off they warned that it might be really cold but it was just such a relief to be up in the air.”

Brett had a six-hour surgery as soon as he arrived and he said the service and support from everyone involved was “second to none”.

He said: “To be in the middle of nowhere and have an army medic save your life and then an air ambulance take you to hospital. It’s unbelievable.

“It made me feel quite proud that we live in a country where that is the case. I don’t know where in the world you could have an accident and not have to think about those sorts of things.”

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Speaking about the ordeal, Brett’s wife Cat said: “It was a living nightmare.

“Having a call saying he’s been in an accident and trying to get information. It was like suspended reality.

“All sorts of things are going through your head. I managed to get down the following day and asked the nurse if he was going to live and she said ‘I can’t really say anything at this stage’.”

At the hospital Brett went under numerous unsuccessful procedures in an attempt to save his leg and he developed sepsis and became very unwell.

He then underwent another operation and when he came around he was in the recovery area “and there was a nurse looking after me”.



Brett Daughtrey is already back training again and hopes to have a new prosthetic leg that will allow him to get back out cycling soon
Brett Daughtrey is already back training again and hopes to have a new prosthetic leg that will allow him to get back out cycling soon

He said: “She was worried. I could see her colleagues consoling her because she was struggling.

“I had a distinct feeling I could drift away if I wanted to. I felt it could go badly.

“It was just awful. It smelt like death.”

Fortunately Brett was able to pull through and, 10 days after the crash, the decision was made to amputate his leg, which led to an immediate improvement of his well-being.

He said: “I had been so unwell and it was like I had recovered again. It was a night and day difference.”

Brett went back to Rotherham on August 4 with Cat, who had driven to and from Stoke every day to visit him in hospital.



Cat travelled to and from Stoke every day while Brett was in hospital
Cat travelled to and from Stoke every day while Brett was in hospital

Brett has now been focusing on getting his strength up and has already got back on the bike and is training.

He said: “I’ve just been taking every day as it comes and to be honest I don’t see it holding me back. I just want to get back on my feet and doing the things I love.”

A number of close friends of Brett’s are now holding fundraisers to try and raise money for a specialised prosthetic leg, which can cost upwards of £20,000, so that he can start cycling again.

One of the other members of Brett’s cycling group travelling through Wales on that fateful day, Olivia Neal, has set up a JustGiving page, which you can view here.

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Miss Neal said: “We’re doing as much as we can for both Brett and Cat. They’re both incredible.

“Brett coped incredibly. Even from the beginning he just sort of got on with it. He’s the sort of person who thought ‘It happened and I can’t do anything about it so I’ve got to see it as a new challenge’.

“Anybody else would be laid up in bed but he’s just carried on.”

Brett said: “It’s really humbling. The support I’ve had from everybody has been unbelievable.

“One friend has been round to fit a handrail and another put a step to help me at the front of the house. I feel if I need anything I just need to ask.”

Brett is also looking at returning to work at a toolmakers in Rotherham in the coming weeks and is looking forward to the future.

He said: “The way I see it is I have always looked to do adventures by going out on bike rides or whatever and we will still be doing adventures but they will just be different.”

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Written by: Rother Radio News


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today14/09/2021